Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fancy seeing you here

I usually don't find unfortunately-placed ads to be funny but this one made me laugh. Note how both ad units are working hard to form a perfect storm of irony with the article and it's headline. The Sprint logo in the article matching the ads is just the cherry on top.

(link to article here, but ads may no longer be running.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I can't say no

Back in April, I posted about my loyalty to brands and how even in the face of guaranteed disappointment, I eagerly take a big gulp of that bitter broth. You see, I'm in the camp that once you love something you can't unlove it. My heart is like that big wet green brick you find at the florist: once I make room for something in it, it's permanent. No, really, that's my heart. It's not the big colorful arrangement of sexual organs you see on the outside, it's the soft squishy center on the inside. But dammit, I'm sick of those perfectly manicured, shiver-inducing fingers poking remorselessly at random just to see how I dent.

Those times are over. I will not be seduced by those perfect brands I used to love. I have to move on, there are more fish in the sea. It starts today! Which is good, because it happens to be the launch day for Michael Crichton's next book, aptly called "Next". In April, I said:

"I still read every Michael Crichton book that comes out hoping for a glimpse of old times."

I'm done with you Crichton. Sure, your last four books may have knocked on my door (separated by just enough time for the hurt to have faded) and maybe I was weak when I let em in. Yeah, I took them to bed and stayed up all night indulging in what I promised I would never do again. But each morning I was left with nothing more than a sense of being used... being dented.

That's over now. Don't try to call or text me. It's over ok? Bye.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Death and something else

(Some post-tryptophan catching up)

According to the nice folks at, a law is moving through the Korea government that will attempt to ban RMT. Except there's a problem. There's a giant loophole in that it covers in-game points and money but not in-game items. Without closing the loophole, this basically makes the law ineffective. The market will quickly and effectively select an in-game item as a trading device. The seller will just buy the Giant Bag of Crap +1 for 1,000 gold, sell the Giant Bag of Crap +1 to the buyer for $50, then buyer will resell Giant Bag of Crap +1 for 1,000 gold. Result: Law pwned.

So I'm wondering, why the loophole? They're working on an amendment for early 07 to address in-game items but they could easily just ban it with this law. So I started thinking about this and my cynical side kicked in. Taxes.

I'll bet anyone $.01 that when "early 07" comes around the new law regulates in-game item sales as well as adds a nice tax element.

Some data for you

Gamasutra has an interesting article today about the Ebay activity of Wii and PS3s since all the madness started.

Here's the quick lowdown (in chart form created by yours truly, I'm a geek!).
The number of units sold (surprisingly) has been about the same. The huge difference is in the price increase. People are willing to pay a whooping 150% more for the PS3 while only 65% more for the Wii. This can, of course, be explained by the lower number of PS3's released (supply & demand, blah blah).

(Here's an interesting thing for number geeks like me. There were a reported 1 million Wiis released and 400 thousand PS3s, so approximately one and a half times more Wii's than PS3's. If you look at the percent increase that people were willing to pay, PS3's went for about one and a half times more than the increase in Wii's.)

So what's the big deal with all this Ebay madness? Well, if you tally up all the numbers and averages (and keep in mind this is averages so not scientific by any means), Ebayers made approximately $28 million in the hype so far. Ebay itself, with a 3% cut of the action, only made about $1.4 million (double that if everyone used PayPal).

$28 million is a huge number but was it worth it? Let's see. Let's assume the average Ebayer waited in line for 6 hours. If you add up the consoles sold (57,684) and multiply that by 6 hours waited per console, you get 346,104 hours. At a total gross profit of $27,935,485 for all consoles auctioned, that comes out to a nice $80.71 pay rate for waiting in line. (At that rate, for those 6 glorious hours, the Ebayers had an annual income of $167,885)

And that, my friends, is why we have the madness.

Now feel free to cut apart my math and assumptions and talk about shipping costs and travel costs and all that stuff. =)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The One Bird to Rule Them All

Best turkey recipe of all time: Alton Brown's Good Eats Turkey

My interpretation: Use real ginger instead of candied. Add couple stems of thyme to the aromatics. When handling poultry, make sure to wash your hands before returning to your controller. During the first 30 minutes of cooking (the high heat period) do not begin the Henne Mines section of FFXII, you'll never make the save point under 40 minutes and by that time, your bird is toast.

I prefer canned cranberry sauce to go with. Open the can on both ends and it slides right out. Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Trample Free Shopping

This Thursday at 11AM PST, I know exactly what you'll be doing. You'll be sitting in front of your computer, browser loaded to Amazon and madly clicking "Get this deal".

Don't know what I'm talking about? Amazon is having a "Customers Vote" promotion. Users can go to Amazon now and vote between four deals, the deal with the most votes by 9PM tonight will be offered at 11AM Thursday morning. The leading deal with almost all the votes: an Xbox360 for $100. To be honest, I'm secretly hoping for the Barbie set to make a miraculous comeback in the last 45 minutes but I'm one man and I can only do so much.

Anyways, if you're not madly clicking at 11AM on Thursday, please turn in your gamer badge, you're a shame to the community and quite frankly, no friend of mine.

By the way, I'm pretty intrigued by this promotion from Amazon. Almost like I've seen this before... Wait, I got it...that's right. AmEx has been doing this for over a year with My WishList.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Halo for PS3

No, the Master Chief hasn't converted. I'm talking about the halo effect from all the attention surrounding the PS3 and Wii launches this weekend.

Taco Bell, always a class act, paws at PS3's coattail with a promotion that'll have you staring in disbelief: Trade in your PS3, get over 12 grand in taco credits. As I've mentioned before, when a marketer has nothing to talk about, they shamelessly search for headlines. It's about as effective and pleasing to watch as someone licking the inside of a candy wrapper. Hey, I'm not saying it doesn't work, it's just cheesy (get it, Taco Bell... cheesy? You know you love it). Way to get at those crumbs Taco Bell!

via Next Gen

The curse of updating

Today the NY Times had a review of the PS3, it wasn't nice. To sum it up:

"Measured in megaflops, gigabytes and other technical benchmarks, the PlayStation 3 is certainly the world’s most powerful game console. It falls far short, however, of providing the world’s most engaging overall entertainment experience."
I had a chance to play the system this weekend and it isn't a mind-blowing leap of technology either. We're all going to have to admit at some point that we've reached the point of diminishing return on pixels and graphics. Adding another million pixels here or there is just a drop in the pond and quite frankly, the graphics pond still looks kinda stiff. In the next generation, maybe we should spend some time on AI or god-forbid, gameplay mechanics instead.

Sorry, let me get back on topic. So the main criticism in the NY Times article is the feeling that Sony "settled" on the usability of the system. The interface, online features and hardware add-ons fall short of the competition (namely Xbox360). There does, however, appear to be hope as Sony can update the system at a later time. And here's where my rant comes.

We have settled for incomplete/terminally buggy games for a while now. We inevitably download the patch and cross our fingers because we had no choice; they didn't tell us on the box it was version 0.8. Now we have hardware guys telling us they'll fix it later, just use what you got for now. That's ridiculous.

The Internet is for porn (if you don't know this reference, YouTube it), not for missing deadlines and getting do-overs. It's shameful that we buy a piece of hardware and we still can't be certain we've got a finished product. (Speaking of unfinished, I'm still fuming from KOTOR 2) Updates should be reserved for additional content or for very peculiar bugs that developers just couldn't have anticipated (like that gamer that gets stuck behind a wall after spending 50 hours trying to figure out how to get stuck behind a wall). What they're doing is sloppy, I'm going to call it slopdating.

We can't allow this to keep happening. You don't buy a shirt and expect buttons to come later. You don't buy a car and hope the braking system is the most recent version for that model. We have to take a stand and start boycotting products. In fact, in protest, I'm not going to buy a PS3 for at least another 3 weeks. That'll show em!

(What? Did you really think there's going to be a solution? No one is going to boycott a game or a system because slopdating is what we do nowadays. That door is open and no one has the power (or willpower) to close it. I just wanted to rant.)

[If you think boycotting is for pussies: Go ahead and get your PS3, then smash it. Brought to you by the guys from that site that likes to wreck expensive stuff for your viewing pleasure. No, I'm not going to link them because every time they break something, an angel gets a hernia.]

Friday, November 17, 2006

Reading this article will sign you up for MSN

Happy PS3 Day!

Like a good blogger, I've been scanning the news. Nothing interesting, just what you'd expect. People camping, trampling each other, selling their first born, you know, that kind of stuff. And then, like a menorah under a Xmas tree, comes this article: "If you're shopping, remember the Xbox360" brought to you by MSNBC (you know, the joint press venture between Microsoft and NBC?).

Excuse me sir, you seem to have dropped your journalistic integrity.

As you would expect, the article reads like an ad for the 360. If you haven't had lunch yet and you feel like throwing up a little, go for it.

Shame on you MSNBC!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm scared of the baby

An interview with Peter Dille, head of PS3 marketing, from GameDaily . If you like marketing and games, this is a good one to read (just to try to get into his head). For extra fun, take a drink everytime he uses a marketing buzzword.

On a side note, I'm heading to the Volunteer State today and will be back Thursday morning. Have a great mid-week!

Monday, November 13, 2006

And then security broke it up...

Buick "launched" a viral video recently, it flopped. Why? Let's dissect it.

Is Tiger to blame? Nope. Nike proves that Tiger can be viral. Remember the bouncing ball ad?

Is it the premise of using viral videos to sell cars? Nope. Look at the Honda cogs ad.

Well what is it then? I think this is pretty simple and we can attribute this flop to one thing: A lack of honesty.

Certain elements scream out to the viewer that you're being had: The unrealistically long shots of the vehicle, like a frat boy in Cancun who only focuses his camera at the ocean. The sound/dialogue that happens to clear up at the right moment. The proximity to Tiger that seems to get closer as the video proceeds. And finally, the best part. The security guard with the overplayed hand screen.

Look guys, you don't have to fake it for your viral to work. Consumers will find you out and then what are you left with? A bunch of cynical bloggers and viewers trashing your video. Wait a second... Is that what you guys wanted?

Create a bad viral. Get people talking about it. Get it on the top 10 videos. Have people trash and talk about the video while absorbing those beauty shots. Shrug it all off with the, "Well, you know, we're Buick, you know, old guy cars? We don't know this Internet stuff, we just gave it a shot."


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Some colors not available

Another look familiar?

Mmmm, Tron... futuristic with a creamy retro center.

King of All Cosmos says buy insurance

Look familiar?

If it doesn't, go here.

Yeah, I'm about a month late on this one but it's new to me. =)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Random chart of the day

This Technorati chart shows daily posts in the blogosphere with informative highlights on days with something interesting going on in the world. It's all very interesting but what the hell happened in mid-September last year?
Analyst Opinion: September 2005 saw an increase in the phenomenon we call, "Sorry, I'm too lazy to post." This lasted approximately a month topped off by a dark Wednesday that industry insiders called "meh"day. During this month, hurricane Katrina struck and the collective blogosphere said (paraphrased): "oh damn, better say something about that." Which was followed by another period of meh. Early October saw a spike in posts commonly referred to as the, "I'm back!"

As for myself, I didn't start blogging till Feb 06. After the coal miner accident, I just couldn't stay away any longer.

Don't vote

What's the point? There's 300 million of us and surely someone else will take the slack. We voted last time and look at the idiot that ended up in office. And to those people that say it's your "duty". Well, look Mr. Righteous, it's not like we're NOT voting these days. We vote for singers, dancers and people on islands or something like that. What happens? They lose anyways. We vote religiously for briefcase #4 and it's always either #2 or that damn #6. We vote for Chinese and everyone freak'n wants Italian. Voting is an exercise in disappointment. Why bother?

It's not like your voice will be heard. It's not like collectively, things will actually change. The decisions have already been made, don't you know? There's a group of old dudes in a room running this country. It's funny because ironically, they vote amongst themselves. Ok, maybe not ha ha funny, but it's funny, trust me. Anyways, things have been decided man, they know what's gonna happen because they make it happen. They like it when we vote cuz they keep track of where we all live. They're tracking you right now dude so don't vote!

Finally, you know all that talk about voting and freedom and that lovely hand-holding run through a field of flowers they do? It's all marketing man. We're not free. We're padlocked in a cage built by the stupidity of the majority. Repeat after me, people are stupid! And you put em all together collectively and they're as smart as that stuff that builds up behind the couch. No, you don't want any of that. Freedom is to avoid the idiocy of the masses. Don't do it, you hear me? You don't want to actually agree with anyone because the moment you do, forget about enlightenment or self-awareness. Mooo! Mooooo!!


Monday, November 06, 2006


Seldom does a game ad, or any ad for that matter, make me proud to be in advertising. There are rare exceptions and I think the ad below is one of them.

I'm immediately taken back to the days when flying was a reality and "I totally got you because I said bang before you!" Those were the days when play wasn't compartmentalized into how many drinks you had or how many vacation days were left. Play happened spontaneously and ended with either sunsets or bloody knees. You lived to play and the sheer pleasure of it was so intense, you never bothered to take stock.

We don't play like that anymore but we all want to. We yearn to get into the dirt and get dirty; the kind of dirty where the tub runs brown as you shower and you rejoice. We crave running and chasing each other with no pretension or point. Points are stupid.

This ad says, you can still do that. Maybe not out on the streets but it's all in this box, this Xbox. Fire it up and escape. That's powerful stuff.

via Adrants

Other ads in the campaign:

Tomato, tomato

I had the pleasure of spending time with some gamer friends this weekend. Let me tell you, it feels nice to be around people that have the same passion as you and speak the same language. Well, mostly the same language.

I was deep in conversation with a friend who is mad about WoW, I mean absolutely addicted and loving it... hmm, let's call her "Elendil". Anyways, we were talking about raids and items and people management when we came across the topic of accents. Given that WoW is an international game and she keeps vampire hours, she plays a lot with Aussie gamers.

I asked her, "So like, in the heat of battle, do you lose them cuz of the accents?".

"Not really", she replied.

"Yeah, I guess everyone screams DOT the same way." I said.

"Umm no, we say dot." she corrected me.

In the above exchange, I said DOT by pronouncing every letter, dee - oh - tee. She just said the word, dot, rhymes with bot. Oops. I am SO lame.

Now let me caveat this whole thing by saying I don't like using voicechat. I don't do it. It kills the experience for me. If I did, I'm sure I would have come across the proper way to say DOT (which by the way stands for damage over time). But given my avoidance of voice, I simply defaulted to my own internal voice.

This is, unfortunately, not the first time my internal voice has botched words I've read but never heard. Earlier in my gaming life, I ran across words like tunic (it's ton-ick right?), falchion (falk-on?) and epitome (epee-tome?). Not bothering to actually look up these words, I gamed for endless hours using my own pronunciation. It was not until I actually started talking to other players did I realize I was wrong. "Ooooh, that's how you say it!"

I'd like to think that in a strange way these situations are gaming's little gifts of education to me. More realistically, it's just a secret language between groups of like-minded people. If you don't stumble when reading this sentence, "HP low, tapped mana, medding for sec. Watch for MOBs, SoW out in 2 mins," you'll probably do just fine in any MMO. Unless you said "ess-oh-dubyu" for "SoW". Ha ha ha, you're such a noob!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stick with the tempura

Scientists writing in the journal Science warn that if fishing continues at the current pace, there will be a global collapse of fish species by 2048. They define collapse as the fish population at less than 10% prior to fishing.

Damn, that's in my lifetime! Well, that is if I live a healthy life, drink red wine every day and have fish at least thrice a week. Wait a second... Dammit!

via the New York Times

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Your Word of the Day: Squirmedy

squirmedy (skwurm-i-dee) n. A genre of movie or television with the main intention to cause audience members to squirm uncomfortably. Sometimes comedic but often puerile, this entertainment category experienced tremendous growth during the early 21st century due to the prominence of amateur videos and reality television.

See: Jackass (show and movies), Borat & Bobby Brown

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Google World Domination Watch 43

Usually when Google buys a company, I'm not personally excited. Yesterday, they announced the acquisition of JotSpot and I actually whooped. If you haven't heard of JotSpot, it's a site that offers wiki technology along with a slew of really useful add-on apps. My main problem with JotSpot was that they didn't have a free offering. With Google on board now, well, that's not going to be a problem. If you do any sort of online collaboration, you should look into JotSpot, they're hands down the leader in the space. They've suspended new accounts during transition but I'll let you know when it's back up.

Thanks Google!